Gandalf, Apparition and Wellies – OWA 2015 Winner


This entry was the winner of the Oriel Writing Awards: Prose Category for the year 2015.


Gandalf, Apparition and Wellies – by Sophie Barnes

I sat in a world. Only two things I knew. It was good, and Gandalf was there.

Next thing, we all apparated back to this world. Except it wasn’t apparition. Everyone kept reminding me that; ‘No Ella! This isn’t Harry Potter!’

This world wasn’t good, the baddies had taken over. But Gandalf was going to fix that.

New information was revealed to me. We all had magical necklaces, or stones with special talents hanging on a chain around our necks. I think we all had them anyway but only two I remember; a red one for fire, anger, hatred and a blue one for peace, water, love.

A younger good girl had the blue one, and the baddies had the red. Gandalf didn’t want the baddies to get the blue one though as it was more powerful; water could extinguish fire.

We all sat in a big assembly room. I can’t quite describe it. Maybe it was a school speech day. Maybe it was the Town Hall. Maybe it was a baptism service. Something was happening at the top anyway, and we all sat in rows with a long aisle down the middle.

The baddies didn’t know who the goodies were so we kept low.

Certain people got called up to the top. Most ordinary people didn’t realise anything bad was going on. Next thing, our young girl with the blue necklace’s name was called. The baddies were going to cut-off her necklace at the top without anyone knowing.

She started to walk up the aisle. I sat next to Gandalf; a privileged place to be. ‘Write pen’ he mumbled firmly to me, handing me a biro.

‘Write pen?’, I thought. What did Gandalf mean?

As the girl passed Gandalf whipped out a pen-knife from nowhere and cut off the stone. Adrenaline kicked in; I wrote ‘PEN’ on her chest where the stone had been.

Oh, now realisation kicked in. Gandalf had wanted me to make a mark on her chest so that the baddies would not be able to see from a distance that the stone was missing.

I chuckled, it was quite funny that she now had ‘pen’ written on her chest. It was ok though, my marking had done the trick.

The girl reached the top of the assembly hall. The baddies were going to notice. The baddies did notice. We had to leave the hall. We had to save her. We had to get back to our nice world.

I don’t know how we left the hall and saved the blue girl, but I remember the next task. In order to get back to our world, we needed to collect our wellies from the back of the car, rush over Oxford High Street to the square outside the Radcliffe Camera. Then, when Gandalf said ‘FRIED EGGS’, we had to hold on to the magic stone that was there to be apparated back (‘but no not apparated Ella, this isn’t Harry Potter remember’).

It was my job to unload the boot of wellies. It was so stressful. There were so many wellies pouring out of all sides of the car, and so many good people surrounding me who wanted their wellies before the baddies came. There were big wellies, small wellies, tall ones, all sorts of colours, shapes, designs and patterns. I couldn’t match any of them up in pairs.

Finally everyone had their wellies. We held our own pair tight and headed over to the square.

Subtlety we had to remember. We all looked a bit obvious loitering outside the Radcliffe Camera each carrying a pair of eccentrically shaped wellies. But we couldn’t go until Gandalf gave the sign.

I couldn’t quite remember the sign for a moment. ‘Omelette’ was it? Or maybe there was no sign. Oh yes now I remember, it was ‘FRIED EGGS’.

Gandalf wasn’t going to come. I don’t know why, but I knew that in the seventh book that would be revealed and it would all be ok. He was going to take a huge risk for the better of all mankind by staying in this world. He would have to pretend to be a normal lonely and slightly crazy old man living in a dusty one-man apartment. It was sad, but we also all wanted to get back before the baddies came. We didn’t want to say goodbye but we didn’t want to stay.

Gandalf sneakily worked ‘FRIED EGGS’ in to a sentence. He is smart like that.

We all touched the stone, with our wellies in our other hands. Back we went to the white peaceful good world I can’t remember anymore about.

I woke up.



The Poor Print

Established in 2013, The Poor Print is the student-run newspaper of Oriel College, Oxford. Written by members of the JCR, MCR, SCR and staff, new issues are published fortnightly during term. Our current Executive Editors are Siddiq Islam and Jerric Chong.

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